Piercebridge

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Coordinates: 54°32′13″N 1°40′40″W / 54.53684°N 1.67777°W / 54.53684; -1.67777

Piercebridge
Piercebridge St Marys Church 001.jpg
St Mary's Church, Piercebridge
Piercebridge is located in County Durham
Piercebridge
Piercebridge
 Piercebridge shown within County Durham
Population 250 
OS grid reference NZ209157
Unitary authority Darlington
Ceremonial county County Durham
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DARLINGTON
Postcode district DL2
Dialling code 01325
Police Durham
Fire County Durham and Darlington
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
List of places
UK
England
County Durham

Piercebridge is a village and civil parish in the borough of Darlington and the ceremonial county of Durham, England. It is situated a few miles west of the town of Darlington. It is on the site of a Roman fort of AD 260–270, which was built at the point where Dere Street crossed the River Tees. Part of the fort is under the village green.[1] The settlement has been in continuous use ever since.

The excavated Roman fort is open to the public and the remains of Piercebridge Roman Bridge over the Tees now lie around 90 metres (300 ft) south of the current course of the river, approximately 450 metres (1,480 ft) east of Piercebridge, at the east side of Cliffe, Richmondshire.

Name and location[edit]

Piercebridge is named after its Roman bridge or brigg: in 1104 it was Persebrig; in 1577 it was Priestbrigg. It is thought that pierce comes from pershe, meaning osiers, perhaps because the bridge was at least partly made of osier twigs in 1050 when the name is first recorded. Alternative suggested meanings, of "priest" and the name "Piers", would be too modern in origin for such an old place name. The village is sited where the York-Newstead Roman road known as Dere Street crosses the River Tees.[1]

History[edit]

The Romans built a fort here to defend the crossing against the Brigantes,[2] but after the Romans left in around 410 AD there was no important Saxon or medieval settlement, although some people stayed on in the fort for a century or so.[3] It is thought that this plain in the Tees Valley became the centre of the Catraeth kingdom of the descendants of the Brigantes.[2] There was no medieval Piercebridge parish, but there was a chapel recorded in 1546.[4] The name of White Cross Farm and cottage may come from the 17th century apocryphal tale that one of the Dukes of Cleveland demanded the whitewashing of houses on his land so that he could recognise his own property should he require shelter during a storm while hunting.[2] The 18th-century farmhouse, Piercebridge Grange, may be on the site of a monastic grange. It was tenanted by James Rawe, gentleman, in 1847.[5] It is now a Grade II listed building,[6] but was derelict by 2008.[7] Piercebridge Battle was partly fought on the bridge, when on 1 December 1642 a small Royalist contingent including William Cavendish defended it against Parliamentarians led by Lord Fairfax.[4][8] St Mary's church and churchyard were used for 115 extant memorials and burials from 1836 to 1987.[9] In 2001 the Piercebridge area suffered in the foot and mouth epidemic.[10]

Topography[edit]

White Cross Farm

In 1887, this village had 973 acres (3.94 km2) of which 17 were water, a population of 206, a railway station and a post office.[11] Since then it has lost the railway station, gained few residents, and retained its post office.[12] Originally Dere Street crossed the Tees 260 yards (240 m) further upstream, but in 1771 a flood washed away the remains of the old Roman bridge, and in 1789 a new bridge replaced the ferry.[1] The 1806 map shows Dere Street as the main route via Piercebridge between Richmond and Bishop Auckland, although the Ripon-Durham route went via Darlington.[13] The 1904 map shows the route diverted via Staindrop, and that part of Dere Street between Piercebridge and Bishop Auckland had become a minor road.[14] This was possibly due to the advent of the NER Darlington and Barnard Castle railway (1858) whose Piercebridge station closed in 1964. According to the land-usage map of 1942, this was an area of arable land and pasture, and the urbanisation around Darlington had not yet begun to encroach.[15]

Archaeological sites[edit]

Derelict Piercebridge Grange, 2006

Under the village green is the Roman fort known as Magis, Morbium or Vinovium, where Dere Street crossed the River Tees, and where there was Roman presence from about 70 AD to at least the fifth century. To the east of the fort in Tofts Field there is a vicus,[3] and a Roman bath house which was incorporated into St Mary's chapel, and is now on private land.[16][17] Archaeological television programme Time Team has been here in 2009, attracted by Piercebridge Roman Fort in 2009.[18]

Modern Piercebridge[edit]

Piercebridge village green, covering part of Roman fort[1]

It is a village of Georgian and Victorian cottages: some painted white or cream; some of one storey only. There are several Grade II listed buildings in the village and its environs, including White Cross Farmhouse, White Cross Cottage, Carlbury Bridge, Piercebridge Grange Farmhouse, the Church of St Mary and its wall and gate, and numbers 2, 28, 29 and 30 on The Green. The Grange farm buildings, however, were developed into residential properties in 2008.[19] Piercebridge Roman Bridge and the medieval chapel ruins on Roman foundations behind Bath House in Tees View are listed Grade II*.[6] The village green contains some very old trees, and in the river are trout and greyling.[20] At the north end of the village, near the A67 is the Carlbury Arms pub.[21] There is also a Farmway Country Store and Piercebridge Feed Company, retailing rural supplies.[22] The dismantled Tees Valley Railway has become the Tees Valley Railway Path.[23] Church services are held at St Mary's every other week,[24] and there is also a Wesleyan Methodist chapel.[25][26]

Piercebridge cottages

References[edit]

East side of bridge, from Piercebridge,looking south
  1. ^ a b c d Simpson, David (1991–2009). "Roots of the Region". Piercebridge (County Durham). Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Simpson, David (1991–2009). "County Durham". Teesdale and Barnard Castle. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Evans, Tim (1996–2010). "ADS Archsearch". Roman Piercebridge ALSF Project Number 4698. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Keys to the Past". Local History Piercebridge (County Durham). Northumberland County Council. 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Last will and testament of John Chapman, 1847". Citation. 1847. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Darlington Borough Council: Index of buildings in Darlington borough". Parish Piercebridge. Regeneration Division, chief executive's Department, Darlington Borough Council. 19 August 2008. p. 42. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Buildings at risk register". Piercebridge Grange Farm. Darliington Borough Council. 2008. p. 31. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Lundy, Darryl (29 March 2013). "William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne". The Peerage. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Federation of Family History Societies". Cleveland, North Yorkshire and County Durham Memorial Inscription index. 2002–2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Timeline: Foot-and-mouth cases". BBC News. 19 October 2001. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Bartholomew, John (1887). "A vision of Britain through time: Piercebridge County Durham". 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Thomson local.com". Piercebridge Post Office. 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  13. ^ Smith, C. (1806). "A vision of Britain through time: historical maps". C.Smith: New Map of Great Britain and Ireland, central England, 1806, 1:633600. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  14. ^ Ordnance Survey (1904). "A vision of Britain through time: historical maps". Ordnance Survey sheets 7 and 8, 1904, 1:633600. OS. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "A vision of Britain through time: his torical maps". Geographical Publications Limited Land Utilisation Survey of Britain, Sheet 2. Ordnance Survey. 1942. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Keys to the Past". Piercebridge, St. Mary's; site of Medieval chapel. (Piercebridge). County Durham. 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Darlington.gov.uk". Piercebridge conservation area character appraisal, consultation draft. Darlington. 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Lloyd, Chris (2 July 2009). "The Northern Echo". Piercebridge: Time Team investigates. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Charltons". Details for Piercebridge Grange – For Sale. 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Information Britain". A guide to Piercebridge on Tees. 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  21. ^ "Living: restaurant guide". Carlbury Arms, Piercebridge. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  22. ^ "Farmway". Suppliers to the rural community. 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "The long distance walkers association". Tees Valley Railway Path. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "Churchindarlington.org.uk". St Mary's Church, Piercebridge. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "durham-pa.gov.uk". Piercebridge, Wesleyan chapel. Durham County Council. 1981. Retrieved 12 March 2010. [dead link]
  26. ^ "The National Archives". Piercebridge Methodist Church, 1864–1961 minutes and accounts. 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 

External links[edit]